Five college football programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter close out the season with a bowl victory


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Seven college football programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter were involved in one of the 41 bowl games to end the 2017 season.

Five of the seven, Florida State, NC State, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Penn State, came out with victories in their final game of the year.

NC State set a Sun Bowl record with six rushing touchdowns on in a three-touchdown victory over Arizona State. The Wolfpack offense piled up nearly 500 yards while the defense forced ASU into four turnovers. NC State finished 9-4 overall and should finish inside the Top 20.

Penn State wrapped up its second 11-win season in a row behind 342 yards passing from Fiesta Bowl MVP Trace McSorley to nudge past Washington. The Nittany Lions, who converted on 13 of 17 third-down opportunities, jumped out to a 28-7 lead before the Huskies made a late charge. PSU finished as a Top 10 team for the second year in a row.

Northwestern’s defense knocked down a 2-point conversion by Kentucky in the dying seconds to give the Wildcats a one-point victory in the Music City Bowl. The win was Northwestern’s eighth in a row and gave a Wildcats squad that was 2-3 at one point a 10-win season. RB Justin Jackson was a workhorse, carrying 32 times for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin made a dramatic one-handed catch and then raced 55 yards for the score with less than 90 seconds remaining to propel the Fighting Irish past LSU in the Citrus Bowl. The win gave ND a 10-win season, ended a nine-game losing streak in January postseason games and was the Fighting Irish’s first New Year’s Day win since the 1994 Cotton Bowl.

Florida State closed out a difficult 2017 that included major injuries to key players and the departure of long-time head coach Jimbo Fisher with four consecutive victories to avoid its first losing season since 1976. The Seminoles ran away from South Mississippi behind an Independence Bowl record four touchdown passes from freshman quarterback James Blackman.

Defending National Champion Clemson played Alabama in its final game of the season for the third consecutive year. And for the first time since 2015, the College Football Playoff Championship Game did not include the Tigers after they fell to the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.

With five programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter finishing with at least 10 wins, Clemson, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State and Washington, and NC State finishing with nine victories, there could be six chapter schools ranked inside the final Top 20 rankings.

 

Seven Uplifting Athletes Chapters headed to postseason bowl games


BOWL IMAGESeven college football programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter are headed to bowl games to put a bow on their 2017 college football season.

Florida State, NC State, Northwestern, Penn State, Notre Dame, Washington and Clemson all finished bowl eligible this season.

Clemson, the defending National Champions, are in the College Football Playoffs for the third consecutive year and will take on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in one semifinal.

Penn State finished with its second double-digit win season in a row and its two losses were by a combined four points. The Nittany Lions, who are part of the New Year’s Six after coming in at No. 9 in the final CFP rankings, will play fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Washington in the Fiesta Bowl.

Florida State is going through a major coaching change, but the Seminoles won their final game of the regular season to keep their streak of consecutive bowl appearances at 36 and counting. FSU will take on Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl.

Northwestern was one of the hottest teams in college football down the stretch. The Wildcats finished the regular season with seven consecutive victories, including three straight in overtime, to end up inside the Top 25 of the final CFP rankings. Northwestern will play Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

Notre Dame was one of the four teams ranked early in the CFP rankings, but struggled down the stretch and finished 9-3 overall. But the Fighting Irish still drew a nice bowl destination, the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and get a strong opponent in LSU.

NC had a solid season, finishing 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the ACC, and finished inside the final CFP Top 25 rankings. The reward for the Wolfpack is a trip to the desert to play Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.

Uplifting Athletes Chapters are run by current college football student-athletes and use the platform of college football to support mission of Uplifting Athletes to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

 

 

 

Weekly Update: Stony Brook runs past Lehigh in NCAA FCS postseason opener and Northwestern wins seventh in a row


WEEK 13 GRAPHICStony Brook was making its third appearance in the NCAA FCS College Football Playoffs, and in each of the previous two postseason visits, in 2011 and 2012, the Seawolves won their opener.

Make it 3-for-3 in first round games as Stony Brook used a punishing ground game that piled up 354 yards to overwhelm Patriot League co-champion Lehigh at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Donald Liotine, Stacey Bedell and Jordan Gowins combined for 38 of Stony Brook’s 49 rushing attempts. The trio totaled 274 yards on the ground with five touchdowns, led by Liotine’s 133 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Next up for the Seawolves, who rang up 622 total yards in posting their sixth win a row, is a visit to defending NCAA FCS champion James Madison Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Northwestern wrapped up a nine-win regular season by steamrolling Illinois. The victory was the seventh in a row for the Wildcats and will earn head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s squad a tasty bowl bid. Led by 144 yards rushing from Uplifting Athletes Co-Rare Performance of the Week honoree Justin Jackson, the Wildcats pounded out more than 300 yards on the ground.

Florida State rolled past in-state rival Florida to get within one victory of being bowl eligible. The Seminoles used a pair of defensive touchdowns to subdue the Gators in a defensive battle where the teams combined for fewer than 500 yards.

Penn State finished with 10 regular-season victories for the second year in a row with a convincing road victory at Maryland. The Nittany Lions spread the wealth around offensively, led by more than 250 total yards and three touchdowns from Uplifting Athletes Co-Rare Performance of the Week honoree QB Trace McSorley.

Clemson is heading back to the ACC title game and is one victory shy of a third consecutive trip to the College Football Playoffs after rolling rival South Carolina in the Palmetto State Bowl. The Tigers raced out to a 34-0 advantage after three quarters behind 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns from QB Kelly Bryant.

NC State RB Nyheim Hines had a career-best 196 yards on the ground to power the Wolfpack past North Carolina to finish the regular season 8-4 overall and set themselves up well in the ACC pecking order in terms of a bowl bid with a 6-2 conference record.

WEEK 13 SCOREBOARD

 

Weekly Update: Colgate captures share of Patriot League crown and miracle finish helps propel Stony Brook to NCAA FCS playoff berth


WEEK 12 GRAPHICFor the ninth time in program history, Colgate earned at least a share of the Patriot League title by scoring the final 35 points to knock off Georgetown.

The Raiders shared the 2017 crown with Lehigh at 5-1, but the Lehigh Mountain Hawks earned the automatic conference bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Colgate did not receive an at-large bid from the committee despite winning its final five games to finish 7-4 overall.

This was the second time in three years Colgate has earned at least a share of the Patriot League crown. The Raiders defense stretched its streak of scoreless quarters to 15 in the victory.

The last time Colgate’s defense allowed a touchdown was October 21 when Holy Cross scored on its opening drive. The lone Georgetown touchdown came on a pick-6 on the first play from scrimmage.

What a weekend for the Stony Brook Seawolves. They started it off with a dramatic come-from-behind road victory at Maine that included a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The winning points came on a 35-yard Hail Mary pass hauled in by Harrison Jackson as time expired to secure the one-point victory.

That miracle reception by Jackson, who was surrounded by Maine defenders, allowed Stony Brook to finish 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the CAA. And that record earned the solo second-place finishers in the CAA an invitation to the NCAA College Football FCS Playoffs. The Seawolves will host Patriot League co-champion Lehigh in the opener.

This is the first postseason berth for Stony Brook since 2012 and only the third playoff appearance in school history for the Seawolves.

Penn closed out its 2017 season with four consecutive victories to rally and post a 6-4 overall record with a win over Cornell at Franklin Field. The Quakers finished 4-3 in the Ivy League and those three league losses came by a total of 11 points combined.

Clemson and Florida State each posted easy victories over FCS schools. In the Seminoles victory over Delaware State, senior WR Justin Motlow, a walk-on, not only scored a touchdown but made history to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Northwestern won its sixth in a row after a rough start and is one of the hottest teams in college football. The Wildcats blanked Minnesota at Ryan Field behind 166 yards from RB Justin Jackson and a defense that surrendered less than 200 yards and forced five turnovers.

Penn State is on track for a second consecutive double-digit win season after the defending Big Ten Champions disposed of Nebraska on Senior Day at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions led by 32 early in the fourth quarter before the Huskers scored three times in the final 6:32 to close the final gap. Penn State had more than 600 yards of offense including 325 yards and three touchdowns through the air by QB Trace McSorley.

Notre Dame kept its hopes for a 10-win regular season alive by rallying to score the final 14 points to edge Navy by a touchdown at home. QB Brandon Wimbush threw a pair of TD passes to tie the game then put the Irish ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.

WEEK 12 SCOREBOARD

Florida State senior walk-on wide receiver Justin Motlow leaves his mark with touchdown catch and makes history to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week


MOTLOWA walk-on wide receiver from Florida State made history this past Saturday on Senior Day at Doak Campbell Stadium.

There were actually two watershed moments for Seminoles WR Justin Motlow. After four years of grinding, he made the first touchdown catch of his career in the fourth quarter. And the former Tampa Catholic standout also became the first member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to play for Florida State.

Motlow’s combination of perseverance, that was finally rewarded with a touchdown grab, and becoming a part of FSU football history earns him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

The 12-yard crisp flag route Motlow ran was something he will never forget. As he came out of his break the ball from quarterback JJ Cosentino was in the air.

“When I came out of my break, time just stood still,” Motlow said. “I saw the ball in the air and I just knew this was my big opportunity and I knew I wasn’t going to drop it for anything. Made the play and that was the most excited I’ve ever been.”

In the midst of a blowout victory over Delaware State, the Seminoles bench exploded when Motlow scored – not because FSU had added to its point total but because of who scored.

“Motlow is one of the guys, he’s always happy,” FSU cornerback Tarvarus McFadden said. “You’ll never catch Motlow down. So when you see Motlow make a play like that and everybody know what Motlow is capable of, it just means a lot to the team.”

The touchdown catch was something Motlow said he will never forget. But he also understands the historical significance of his first appearance for FSU.

“That is just the most amazing honor you could ever feel,” Motlow said. “I am so proud to represent my tribe. The first member to score a touchdown, let alone just play, it’s an exhilarating feeling. It makes me so happy.”

Previous Uplifting Athletes

Rare Performance of the Week Winners

Week 1: RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame

Week 2: QB Ryan Finley, NC State

Week 3: QB Trace McSorley, Penn State

Week 4: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Week 5: WR Ervin Philips, Syracuse

Week 6: QB Chad Kanoff, Princeton

Week 7: QB Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 8: WR Jesper Horsted, Princeton

Week 9: QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

Week 10: QB Will Fischer-Colbrie, Penn

Week 11: QB Zack Mahoney, Syracuse

 

Weekly Update: Clemson headed back to ACC Championship game for third year in a row after claiming Atlantic Division title with victory over Florida State


WEEK 11 GRAPHICClemson has proven that you can get upset in a regular-season game and still win the National Championship.

That may be the road to doing it again, as the Tigers guaranteed themselves a birth in the ACC Championship game this weekend.

Clemson overcame a less-than-tidy effort, two turnovers and seven penalties, to bump off Florida State and claim the ACC Atlantic Division title for the third consecutive year.

Clemson is headed to Charlotte and the ACC title game for the fifth time in nine years under Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney.

Penn State ended its two-game losing streak behind a record-breaking day from quarterback Trace McSorley in its homecoming victory over Rutgers.

McSorley threw for 214 yards and rushed for another 44 yards. But with his three total touchdowns the redshirt junior became No. 1 on the Penn State list for total touchdowns by a quarterback. The Nittany Lions defense rebounded, limiting the Scarlet Knights to 200 total yards and a pair of field goals.

The Penn State defense held Rutgers without a first down for a 38:45 stretch that started on the first play of the second quarter until 6:45 remained in the game.

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall did something you’ll be hard pressed to see again – he completed only two passes but finished with 140 yards through the air. And both those completions went for long-distance touchdowns in a victory over previously nationally ranked Virginia Tech.

NC State rebounded from back-to-back losses to highly ranked teams to improve to 7-3 overall by edging Boston College. The Wolfpack used a 50-yard run from Nyheim Hines midway through the final quarter to win it.

Northwestern won its fourth in a row by sliding past Purdue. The big news is the Wildcats claimed this victory in regulation, after winning its previous three outings in overtime.

Syracuse is going to struggle to be bowl eligible after falling to Wake Forest at home. But Orange back-up quarterback Zack Mahoney found he was starting 14 minutes before the game and threw for nearly 400 yards to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Penn used 181 rushing yards from Tre Solomon and stingy defense to notch an important road victory at Harvard. Solomon averaged 12.1 yards per carry, while the defense allowed only a pair of field goals to the Crimson.

Stony Brook uses a ball-control offense and relies on being mistake-free to win football games. And that formula played out perfectly against Wagner as the Seawolves improved to 8-2. Stony Brook rushed for nearly 200 yards, won the turnover battle 3-0 and converted third down at nearly a 50 percent clip to notch a four-score victory.

WEEK 11 SCOREBOARD

Weekly Update: Northwestern “Cardiac Cats” become first FBS school in history to win three straight games in overtime with road victory at Nebraska


WEEK 10 GRAPHICThis Northwestern team has become known to it fans as the “Cardiac Cats” with very good reason.

For the third week in a row, head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s squad needed extra time to edge fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Nebraska in Lincoln.

With wins over Michigan State, in triple overtime, and Iowa at Ryan Field, Northwestern is now the first FBS program to ever record three consecutive overtime victories.

Against Nebraska, the Wildcats trailed by a touchdown deep into the fourth quarter before QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 13-play, 84-yard drive and scored on a 7-yard run with 5:03 to play. Thorson also scored on a QB sneak in overtime, then watched the Wildcats defense come up with a stop to seal the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive victory.

Penn came up with its signature win of the season, rallying from down four points late to edge fierce rival and fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Princeton in an Ivy League affair at Franklin Field.

The Quakers led most of the game before the Tigers exploded for 14 quick points in the fourth quarter to seize the lead. Penn QB Will Fischer-Colbrie engineered an impressive 80-yard scoring play, completing all three of his passes, to guide the Quakers to victory.

Fischer-Colbrie threw the winning TD pass inside the final two minutes, finished 15 of 18 for 202 yards and pair of touchdowns to grab the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award.

Meet Penn State Chapter Co-President and Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Florida State running back Cam Akers went for 199 yards and two scores on 22 totes to notch the Seminoles’ third win of the season with a triumph over fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Syracuse. And defending National Champion Clemson, who hosts FSU this week, used 279 total yards and three touchdowns from QB Kelley Bryant to hold off fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter NC State.

Once-beaten Notre Dame used a 24-point explosion in the second quarter to open up enough breathing room on Wake Forest to withstand a furious second-half rally by the Demon Deacons.

Fighting Irish QB Brandon Wimbush put on a show, rolling up 390 total yards (280 passing and 110 rushing) with three touchdowns to lead a Notre Dame offense that piled up 710 yards.

Stony Brook kept its magical season alive by winning for the seventh time in nine games by edging Albany in overtime at home. Joe Carbone hit Harrison Jackson with a 13-yard TD pass in the extra session to win it for the Seawolves. Carbone threw for 218 yards and a pair of scores on a day when the Stony Brook ground game was limited to only 79 yards.

WEEK 10 SCOREBOARD